Addiction affects many individuals in the United States. A recent study from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that an estimated 22.2 million Americans have struggled with addiction from the age of 12 and over. Even though many individuals have battled with addiction, there still seems to be a constant misunderstanding about what an addict goes through daily. However, understanding the truth behind addiction and its myths can help when you are dealing with an addict.
It is common for mental illness and humiliation to be associated with the disease, but we should remember shame is also common in addiction and substance use treatment. It is often hard for an addict to find a supportive family member or friend who understands addiction and who will support them without judgment.
Common Myths About Addiction
Myth – Addiction is a choice.
Fact – Just because someone has chosen to try illicit drugs or even consume alcohol at some point in their life does not mean they have chosen addiction. Anyone can develop a drug addiction without being aware of the symptoms. Using any substance for once or for a length of time can affect a person’s brain chemistry. Over time, the individual will begin to have cravings for the substance, and the desires will often consume and distract their everyday life.
Myth – Prescription drugs are safe. I cannot get addicted to prescription drugs.
Fact – Doctors prescribe medications to their patients for many reasons, whether it is for mental health, or to help relieve pain. Even though most prescribed medications are considered safe when taken as prescribed, extended use can become addictive and develop into an addiction.
Myth – My family has a history of addiction; I too will develop an addiction.
Fact – Science research has shown that the possibility of developing an addiction is higher in families who have a history of drug abuse. This may not always be the case; addiction does not always have a direct link to genetics. Often, substance dependency is from environmental standpoints such as the people you surround yourself with. Just because you have grown up in a household where a parent or family member has suffered from an addiction or substance use disorder, does not always mean you too will become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Myth – Addicts are bad people.
Fact – Those who suffer from addiction may participate in illegal acts to find their drug of choice, or even have run-ins with law enforcement. However, just because they have had interactions with law enforcement officers, battle drug addiction or make poor decisions, does not mean they are bad people. Addiction covers a person’s real personality. Society interprets addiction in its own way, which may cause some to believe that addiction only affects certain types of people or certain income levels. Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction can take over anyone’s life regardless of race or wealth.
Myth – Addicts must hit “rock bottom” before they can become sober.
Fact – Many friends and family members of an addict believe their loved one must hit “rock bottom” before they decide to change. Hitting rock bottom can range from losing a job, house, family or friends because of their addiction. Addiction should not become so bad that one must have to hit “rock bottom” before making a change. This is because the term “rock bottom” can differ from one person to another. Loved ones of an addict should stress that battling addiction can be treated before they lose everything in life or “hit rock bottom.”
Myth – Addicts who relapse are hopeless.
Fact – A person’s addiction does not just end when they become sober. For many people sobriety is a long-term recovery process. Once they quit using drugs or alcohol, their addiction is not over, and they will be tempted to use again. Recovery differs for everyone, and not everyone is successful in their first attempt at recovery. When a person relapses, they need to know you are still there supporting their recovery.
Addiction is a powerful disease, and just with battling any obstacle in life, sometimes it takes many approaches and strategies to overcome this obstacle. With the right treatment, recovery can be achievable for anyone.
Learn More About Drug Addiction Treatment
Taking the first step and planning for substance use treatment can be a complicated process, but you do not have to go through it alone. If you or a loved one is battling addiction and are ready to seek treatment, contact an admissions coordinator at Serenity Acres about treatment options and how to manage addiction to retake control of your life.
At Serenity Acres, we have faith that overcoming an addiction is more than just having a treatment plan. There is no one treatment for substance abuse. Instead, each person who is battling addiction has different influences regarding their past, medical, and family history. Call Serenity Acres today to take control of your life and overcome addiction with our many addiction treatment programs including medication-assisted treatment, one-on-one therapy, group therapy, and more.